When a man begins to understand himself he begins to live. When he begins to live he begins to understand his fellow men.
It was scarcely possible that the eyes of contemporaries should discover in the public felicity the latent causes of decay and corruption. This long peace, and the uniform government of the Romans, introduced a slow and secret poison into the vitals of the empire. The minds of men were gradually reduced to the same level, the fire of genius was extinguished, and even the military spirit evaporated. The natives of Europe were brave and robust. Spain, Gaul, Britain, and Illyricum, supplied the legions with excellent soldiers, and constituted the real strength of the monarchy. Their personal valour remained, but they no longer possessed that public courage which is nourished by the love of independence, the sense of national honour, the presence of danger, and the habit of command. They received laws and governors from the will of their sovereign, and trusted for their defence to a mercenary army. The posterity of their boldest leaders was contented with the rank of citizens and subjects. The most aspiring spirits resorted to the court or standard of the emperors; and the deserted provinces, deprived of political strength or union, insensibly sunk into the languid indifference of private life.
One mustn't allow acting to be like stockbroker -- you must not take it just as a means of earning a living, to go down every day to do a job of work. The big thing is to combine punctuality, efficiency, good nature, obedience, intelligence, and concentration with an unawareness of what is going to happen next, thus keeping yourself available for excitement.
A woman who could always love would never grow old; and the love of mother and wife would often give or preserve many charms if it were not too often combined with parental and conjugal anger. There remains in the face of women who are naturally serene and peaceful, and of those rendered so by religion, an after-spring, and later an after-summer, the reflex of their most beautiful bloom.
When I consider how little of a rarity children are -- that every street and blind alley swarms with them -- that the poorest people commonly have them in most abundance -- that there are few marriages that are not blest with at least one of these bargains -- how often they turn out ill, and defeat the fond hopes of their parents, taking to vicious courses, which end in poverty, disgrace, the gallows, etc. -- I cannot for my life tell what cause for pride there can possibly be in having them.